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Pollert talks bonding, lignite's future

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The $800 million Republican bonding bill focuses on water projects.

One specific project is the F-M Diversion. The measure allocates $435.5 million for the diversion.

"I know it will take a few years to get that done," House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington) said during an interview with Prairie Public. "But if we can get that off the table, we can start looking at the Red River Water Supply, because that's going to bring water to a lot of rural communities."

The Red River Valley Water Supply project would tap into the Missouri River to feed the Red during times of drought.

"The FM Diversion is such a big prorject, it's holding us back on what we need to do on other projects," Pollert said. "I myself am kind of tired of dojng a little bit here and there. Let's get the Diversion out of the way, and start working on these other projects."

The measure also contains money for building projects, including an ag products development center at NDSU and the Pulver Hall project at Dickinson State University. Money is also set aside for UND for its space command initiative.

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Coal bills

The Legislature is looking at a number of bills designed to help the lignite coal industry.

That, after the announcement that the Coal Creek Station power plant would be shutting down in 2022.

"I'm one of those who firmly believes that the baseline for electricity is going to be coal," Pollert said. "We're trying to help the coal industry, because it's having a tough time."

Since Great River Energy announced its decision to shutter the plant, there have been efforts to find a buyer.

Pollert said he thinks Coal Creek is very important for the state. He said the proposals will help assure that clean coal becomes a reality.

"We have to get prepared for two, three, four, five years down the road, to get ready for carbon capture and sequestration," Pollert said. "So we have to have research funds in-place."

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